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Amazon Web Services, Hebrew U join forces in quantum computing research

Collaboration marks the first time an academic institution in Israel will work with the US tech giant for the development of quantum technologies, Hebrew University says

Shoshanna Solomon is The Times of Israel's Startups and Business reporter

Illustrative. Computer processors. Conventional computers process information, or bits, each of which can be either a zero or a one, in the binary language of computing. Quantum bits, however, used by quantum computers, can be both a zero and one simultaneously. (Rost-9D; iStock by Getty Images)
Illustrative. Computer processors. Conventional computers process information, or bits, each of which can be either a zero or a one, in the binary language of computing. Quantum bits, however, used by quantum computers, can be both a zero and one simultaneously. (Rost-9D; iStock by Getty Images)

Amazon Web Services (AWS), the cloud computing arm of the US tech giant, and the Hebrew University of Jerusalem will collaborate on quantum computing research, marking the first time an academic institution in Israel will work with the US firm for the development of quantum technologies, the university said in a statement.

As part of the collaboration, a team from the Hebrew University, led by Prof. Alex Retzker will work together with researchers at the AWS Center for Quantum Computing in California. The center brings together engineers and scientists from all over the world to research the field, considered the “holy grail” of quantum technologies and which could dramatically speed up the calculation processes of computers.

Conventional computers process information, or bits, each of which can be either a zero or a one, in the binary language of computing. Quantum bits, however, used by quantum computers, can be both a zero and one simultaneously, based on the superposition principle of quantum physics. This principle would allow the computer to run calculations in parallel — at the same time — thus speeding up the calculation process.

Based on the campus of California Institute of Technology, the AWS Center for Quantum Computing brings together quantum computing researchers and engineers to accelerate development of quantum computing algorithms and hardware. Their work includes collaborations with universities for sponsored research in cutting edge domains.

Prof. Alex Retzker of the Hebrew University of Jerusalem will lead the team that will cooperate with Amazon Web Services on quantum computing research. (Yitz Woolf)

AWS will fund the team of researchers at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem’s (Hebrew University) Quantum Information Science Center (QISC) and the Racah Institute of Physics to advance the understanding of quantum gates – fundamental building blocks of quantum computers, the statement said.

“This is an ambitious project to forge new theory aimed at helping the world realize a scalable, universal quantum computer more quickly,” said Prof. Nadav Katz, of the Racah Institute of Physics in the statement. “Our goal is to promote entrepreneurship, as well as basic research, involving quantum technology – and the work of Prof. Retzker and his students with the AWS Center for Quantum Computing is a wonderful example of emerging cooperation in this field.”

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